Investigators from the department of endocrinology and metabolism at Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark, have found that patients with chronic lung diseases like COPD who are treated with inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids are at greater risk of developing fractures.

The researchers examined the association between chronic lung disease and the drugs used to treat it and the risk of fracture in 124,655 patients who had a fracture.

For each patient, three age and gender matched controls were randomly selected from the general population. The researchers found that chronic lung diseases such as COPD and emphysema increased the risk of fracture.

Oral corticosteroids and inhaled short-acting β-2 agonists were associated with an increase in fracture risk, while Inhaled corticosteroids and other bronchodilators, such as inhaled long-acting β-2 agonists were not associated with fracture risk.

The researchers concluded, “the increase in fracture risk with inhaled short-acting β-agonists may be linked to the severity of the underlying lung disease rather then with the beta-agonists per se." The study appears in the journal Chest.